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Immigration White Paper: press release

Categories: CEO's Blog

Migrants are active participants in society. The government should start recognising the full value we bring to the economy and society.

The government’s immigration white paper, published today, takes a warped view of the many and varied contributions that migrants make in our society. It also does not reflect the actual skills that migrants contribute to the economy.

The Government’s paper proposes a new visa system which prioritises earnings. The £30,000 income threshold currently in place for non-EU migrants wanting to live and work in the UK is likely to apply across the board after Brexit. However, businesses and charities have criticised the threshold for ignoring the evidence; nearly 65% of the British workforce earn under this amount but are vital to keeping our whole economy functioning. The Government’s proposed system doesn’t recognise the value or contributions of anyone unless they earn a high salary. As a result, they risk crippling whole industries by cutting the number of people available to perform important jobs.

“Wages are not an indicator of a person’s skills or potential. Wages are set by market forces and are not a measurement of what skills the economy needs to thrive. That’s why we are proposing a whole-economy approach that recognises the huge contribution migrants are making in every sector” said Yva Alexandrova-Meadway of Migrants Resource Centre.

“We need a visa scheme that considers other aspects of a person’s experience and doesn’t see them as an arbitrary earning threshold. We need different routes for different types and skills, that’s why we are proposing a route for highly skilled migrants, as well as a route for migrant entrepreneurs who are responsible for setting up one in seven businesses in the UK. We also need a route for workers considered low-skilled as all the evidence shows this is an area of our economy with significant needs. The consultation period is welcome and we will be engaging fully with the process by providing evidence on the experience and perspectives of migrants, a point of view badly needed and largely missing from this debate.”

A recent report by the Migration Advisory Committee found that the average EU migrant in the UK contributes £2,300 more in tax than the average UK adult, and over their lifetime will contribute £78,000 more in tax than they use in public services.  Migrants are a significant part of the workforce across every sector of the economy, especially in lower-wage areas such as agriculture, hospitality and social care where migrants make up to 20% of the workforce.

Notes

  • Migrants Resource Centre’s proposals for a Comprehensive National Migration Strategy can be found here
  • Migrants Resource Centre is a charity that has helped thousands of migrants and refugees secure protection in the UK, learn English, find work and make a home in the UK.
  • For comment please contact media@migrants.org.uk or 07483 120 703